Astronomy

Subaru Telescope Releases Image Data to Public

March 2, 2017, 11:37 AM HST
* Updated March 1, 4:05 PM
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A color composite image in the of the Tadpole Galaxy about 400 million light years away. Credit: NAOJ/HSC Project.

The National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) has unveiled a massive database available to the public containing cosmic images captured by the Subaru Telescope atop Maunakea.

The Hyper Suprime-Cam Subaru Strategic Program (HSC-SSP), a survey conducted using an optical imaging camera mounted on the Subaru Telescope, released its first data for public viewing on Feb. 27. NAOJ developed the database with a dedicated interface for ease of access and searching.

The HSC-SSP survey is an international collaboration started by NAOJ in partnership with the Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe in Japan, the Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics in Taiwan, and Princeton University in the United States.

The project is spanning 300 nights over a five to six year period. The total data captured thus far consists of roughly 80 terabytes, or the equivalent of 10 million image taken by a regular digital camera.

“Since 2014, we have been observing the sky with HSC, a wide-field camera with high resolution,” said Dr. Satoshi Miyazaki, the leading scientist of the HSC-SSP. “We believe the data release will lead to many exciting astronomical results, from exploring the nature of dark matter and dark energy, as well as asteroids in our own solar system objects and galaxies in the early universe. Moreover, we hope that interested members of the public will also access the data and enjoy the real universe imaged by the Subaru Telescope on Maunakea.”

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The release reportedly includes data from nearly two years of observations beginning in 2014, with high-quality images allowing views into the nature and evolution of galaxies and dark matter.

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